Above is the view that I get just slightly up the hill from my parents' summer home in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania. When I take a short walk there, this view happens when I'm about four-fifths of the way through. It's pretty, isn't it? (Click on it, and it gets much larger. Go ahead, you know you want to.) I love walking there. When I was a junior in high school, my best friend told me that I was an ambulatory thinker, and she was right: I get my best ideas when I'm moving. I sit in my office at a desk all day. Oh well. At least I have good ideas when I'm on a walk or fucking.
Rural SWPA is in many ways very much like the rest of the country, especially since cable came in, and especially for anyone under twenty-five or so. In another year, my parents may even be able to get high speed Internet service. We'll see. In other ways, though, it's very different. It's a place with a lot of contrasts. I often forgot to take my camera along, so these pictures aren't terribly representative of the entire trip, but if you get the idea that I spent a lot of time walking and staring at the local flora, then you're not far wrong.
On one of our days there, the girls and I went to the county fair. They wanted to go on rides, and we did, but I also enjoyed going through the livestock barns. I ran into a few obvious bottoms there:
But I don't do animals, so I left them alone. Perhaps someone less prudish than I helped them out, but I have no way of knowing.
I couldn't help noticing that even when I was trying to get a picture of the girls on a ride, my lens kept drifting towards more masculine subjects:
Full-time carnies are scary creatures, by and large, but some of the part-time talent doubles as eye candy.
My favorite time at the fair came when the girls went off alone to do rides, and I got to watch the livestock judging. I tried multiple times to get a good picture of the very cute, all-American judge (He had a degree in Agricultural Economics from UVA, and he currently resides in State College, PA, which made me think that he might be a graduate student.), but I never got a really good one. Still, you get the idea. Very clean cut:
I didn't bother fantasizing about the livestock judge, though. Anyone who looks that conservative is too high maintenance in bed. He probably can't get an erection without a high-voltage cattle prod and a well-worn pair of pink bunny slippers. And, like I said, I don't do animals.
I didn't get a lot of good pictures when we went to Idlewild, an amusement park that boasts the nation's second oldest roller coaster, or something. There were many, many examples of thirty-something and forty-something fathers there with their kids, and the fathers were mostly very attractive. It was also, Italian Festa Day, so the Guido quotient was very high. There are plenty of counter-examples, but I would have to say that, in general, Italian men are significantly sexier than Italian-American men. It's as if once they immigrated here, they decided to concentrate the less fuckable aspects of the Italians while ignoring the immense hotness that you see on every street in Rome or Florence. I leave it to others to decide whether it is always the case that a self-isolating sub-culture becomes less attractive than the dominant culture from which it sprang, but it does seem clear to me that Italian Americans who no longer live in overwhelmingly homogeneous neighborhoods (b&c, for example) are much hotter than those who still do.
If you look carefully at the picture below, you'll see a black head covering rising from one of the seats of the Scrambler. It's a nun. On the Scrambler. The Catholics really aren't what they used to be. I'm not sure whether the nun was Italian, but from her very fair (and radiant: Sister was having a good time) complexion, I'd guess not.
We did have a lot of fun at Idlewild. And on the Alpine Slides at Seven Springs. And numerous other places to which I forgot to take my camera. You'll just have to use your imagination.
My favorite moment from the vacation came at the very end when we were about to get in the car to leave Pennsylvania. The neighbors diagonally across the intersection from my parents had two dogs: a very sweet beagle and an obnoxious, loud, older mixed breed terrier. The terrier was trained to a) bark loudly and snarl, and b) not leave the yard. The beagle was on a long leash that had gotten tangled around some bushes, leaving it very little free rein. EFU was determined to rescue the beagle, but she needed a wingman, and YFU (wisely) refused to go near the barking dog. So when I was done packing the car, EFU called me over, and I went and tried to help her, but the terrier got more and more angry and started charging me and once nipped my leg, though without breaking the skin. I'm very calm around dogs, but discretion is sometimes the better part of valor, so I told EFU that we probably shouldn't stay in the older dog's territory. But I could see that she felt horrible about leaving the beagle all tangled up, so I suggested an alternative approach: I'd go around the other side of the house and distract the terrier, and she could free the beagle, who had whined pitifully at her when we left after the terrier attacked. So I walked away and around the house and stood on the street and barked, and the terrier came running, and I stood there and barked for about three minutes, with neighbors that I didn't even know -- and who had no idea of the back story -- gathering in their doorways to watch. Occasionally, it looked like the terrier wanted to retreat to check out the other side of the house, and then I barked louder. And then I saw EFU walking quickly away and giving me the thumbs up, so I said goodbye to the terrier and left. The beagle was free, EFU was happy, my parents were bemused, and we drove off. It's always good to leave as a hero.